I spent about an hour of my evening seething with quiet rage over an opinion article written for the free local rag that gets delivered to our door without fail every week, whether we want it or not. I happened to glance at the paper while we were having a nice evening with the kid spreading icing and sprinkles on graham crackers in a bid to teach her the fundamentals of healthy eating. The gist of this opinion piece was basically something along the lines of how those evil women out there just love to shop and how the men, aka their husbands, are the real heroes of Christmas for dragging their weary and “once vibrant” (the author’s words, not mine) carcasses around after their wives as they shop, shop, shop and spend, spend, spend!
Pushing aside the multitude of groups of people that this article had the sheer potential to offend, this thrilling relic of patriarchal snobbery sent me down a ridiculous spiral of web sleuthing to figure out the identity of this crusty old white man that perpetrated this crime on journalism and this needless re-upping of outdated gender stereotypes. My wife and I plotted anger-filled dispatches to the newspaper, fake Facebook and Twitter accounts to troll the writer and countless other fashionable ways to throw our collective weight behind how much we suddenly hated this man and all of his batshittingly backwards thoughts on...everything.
And for as much fun as all of that would have been, it would only serve to launch another little missile of hate out into the world that would feel absolutely incredible in that first moment of action and then slowly rot inside me with each passing minute until it left me feeling empty excepting for that still-present rage that I felt after reading the initial article. I cringe at how much time I’ve spent directing my attention and my focus on minuscule problems that can’t possibly be solved by minuscule acts of revolution.
In the past decade or so, I’ve let too many of these sorts of distractions disrupt where I need my focus to be and allowed them to direct me down paths that I’ve had no intention of traveling. Unsolvable extended family issues, unwanted solicitations from the friends of Christmas past, the fact that a literal known felon and philanderer is sitting in the White House (when he bothers to show up); these diversions have only aided in severing who I really am from who I’ve allowed myself to be. For someone that used to have an extremely clear definition of myself, it’s incredibly disarming when the realization hits that that definition stops looking anything like who you actually are. I used to crow loudly about expectations I had for myself and laugh at anyone that tried to shoot them down. Now, more often that I want to admit, I’m the one that shoots down any creative plan that I have before it’s even begun to gestate.
I’m starting to post here again and truthfully, I have a really good idea of where I want all of this to go, but it’s unclear to me as I sit here today if I will actually allow myself to get anywhere near that place that I’m hoping to go. I didn’t sit down with the intention of writing about any of this and I think that’s probably the best possible first step that I can take.